Thanksgiving might be the best holiday in the history of the planet. It’s a holiday that uniquely matters to our spiritual well-being! It eases the angst of our modern minds, which are often way too focused on negativity and anxieties, and it reminds us to focus on grateful thinking and being. As you may know, it’s not always easy to change our habits of mind. Yet, we can learn to change these, and one of the best reframing changes we can make towards this end is to flip the switch from negativity to gratitude.
A prospective client of mine was disillusioned with a 12-step program he was in, and wanted to learn how to meditate. Meditation can be practiced without a reference to spirituality, but it is a practice that can lead you to reflect on what spirituality means for you. A primary purpose of cultivating our spirituality is to discover the deeper layers we made off, and to make us wiser and better at living our lives.
It’s not to make us sit on a cushion and look at the stars, and it is not to bring us unlimited abundance or to make us special like some new age people might want us to believe.
Spirituality is discovering the abundance of your unlimited beautiful and grateful soul. It’s developing the spiritual qualities within you that make you proud to be you. And it doesn’t matter how you get there… though 12-step or through meditation, the end result is about you becoming a finer version of you and of service to others.
Enjoy noticing the things that are going well in your life this Thanksgiving!
Let’s reclaim together our joyous spiritual selves through an “attitude of gratitude.”
Love is always present. This is such a profound truth. Even when you fail to notice it, love is there. But what does love have to do with inner-power?
I would like to talk to you today about spiritual power and the kind of love that this power gives birth to.
The Power and Attraction of Externals
Women and men think that they can attract love, be happy, and have it all, because they have accomplished a lot in the world…. But as we know this doesn’t always work. This is a search for power coming from externals, and this power has its limits. Often, it might lead to a decrease in satisfaction and overall happiness. The longest study ever conducted on happiness revealed that what brought happiness to people were not the externals in their lives but the relationships and the meaning they created.
If you only rely on that kind of power, you might act in ways that are not coming from a place of integrity. The out of integrity behavior is rampant in our society. From people who don’t know that they feel and what they think, to people who hide their shame and true selfs behind their acts.
The kind of power I am talking about is invisible and much more powerful than you think. It’s cultivated and developed. This is why our programs are so powerful and effective. They help you discover this inner-power you hold dormant inside of you and use it make a difference and create a mountain of meaningful deeds in your life.
Spiritual Power and Self-Love
Spiritual power or inner-power (if you prefer) gives you a healthy glow and a wonderful presence. You don’t have to be drop dead gorgeous to cultivate this kind of magnetic power. But you do have to spend time discovering it, cherishing it, and self-reflecting on the meaning of your life.
And, here we come back to love, because love lives in the heart of life. You can’t develop spiritual power without developing a lot of self-love.
As you start letting go of the power external forces hold over you, and bring your attention into the essence of who you are, your self-love will skyrocket. I am not advocating abandoning all externals, but rather to learn to find the joyous and uncrushable powers deep inside of you. The powers that nourish your spirit and give your inspiration every day of your life. This way, you can always feel inner love and the peace that comes from this, to project a glowing radiance in the world and to start acting with inner-confidence and integrity.
The more you look for your essence that gives rise to your inner-power, the easier it will become to appreciate life and love. This is your most magnificent power. When you come to realize that your true power is not found in the physical world but comes from your essence, you will fall in love with it and will be eager to continue developing it and showing it.
Empower your inner-self, and share a gentler, kinder, more loving and wiser version of yourself with the people who matter the most in your life and the world.
We have the apparatus to be happy, says Dan Gilbert, author of “Stumbling on Happiness.”
His study found is that our frontal lobe helps us create a psychological immune system to fabricate happiness anytime we want. What are the applications of this study for us chasing happiness everyday of our lives?
Happiness is not linked to outcomes. “Happiness is not a thing to be found,” says Gilbert. It doesn’t matter if you get this particular job or find that particular relationship. Any other possible outcome can make us feel as happy as the one we really focused on in the first place.
The wisdom here is that changing goals or taking a different route from the one you envisioned would not make you less happy.
Or we could say that atttachment and ungrounded expectations could lead to unnecessary disappointments. Having a more relaxed view of things and of life in general, and having flexibility will surely lead to more happiness.
Having too much freedom to choose or change, says Gilbert is the enemy to happiness. This is definitely a shocking revelation, right? But it is exactly what this study found. Our psychological immune system works best when you have limited choices, for example when we are married. So if you are married and feel unhappy, maybe you could reconsider your happiness quotient, add a few more grateful things to the bin, and change your view about the alternative options to more happiness.
The idea however of reducing your options frees you to make better choices with less stress and can, in fact, lead to greater fulfillment.
Another point the author makes is that having too much ungrounded passion and ambition in life can lead to disastrous results. I think that we can find plenty of examples in all walks of life to demonstrate this statement. Gilbert cites Adam Smith, the father of modern economics, to support his argument.
But the main point here is that nothing in life is as important as keeping your integrity intact. Anytime you have to lie or cheat, or compromise your values, you are taking the risky road of becoming unhappy.
When we understand that happiness is not a goal or a thing but originating in our own physiological makeup, we can empower ourselves to lead fulfilling and rewarding lives.This is a very wise study supporting the idea that we create our own happiness.
We need to understand being mindful as being more aware and acting with more presence and awareness.
The purpose of mindfulness is to expand our awareness of our behavior and our role in our environment.
Mindfulness has become such a hot topic because we have disconnected our minds from our bodies, so much and so often. We continue to technologically over-connect to the growing cyber-worlds, and over-develop our analytical abilities in the navigating of it.
As a result, we frequently disconnect from our core selves, from the messages of our body and from the subtle messages of nature.
Mindfulness leads to a more holistic way of living where we are in sync with ourselves and nature. We become better people, we develop spiritually in mindfulness and we learn to balance our material demands with the guidance of our spirits.
But how do we get there?
Any course on mindfulness will set you on the path to mindfulness.
You need to learn the techniques and you need to practice.
When you commit to change, you have to find the time to spend with yourself. You will need to slow down and close your eyes. Even a 10 minutes of breathing exercises will make you aware of your body.
Think of mindfulness meditation as giving a gift to yourself. You are giving loving care to your body and soul. You are increasing your awareness, and you are establishing a more solid connection with yourself.
You are also increasing your self-healing abilities, changing your perceptions, and increasing your joy.
Life will slowly start revealing itself in different ways. What looked like grey, might start looking like green? What bothered you, will no longer bother you. Life will become easier. The way you deal with daily challenges will be less aggravating. You will slowly start forgiving others and accepting your experiences without emotional charge.
The moments and days you spend in mindfulness-present time will be longer and fuller, because you will start living with more joy.
The regular practice of slowing down and seeking a deeper connection to yourself is a work between you and you. When you start approving of yourself, loving yourself and making a difference in the lives of people, you will be firmly on the mindful path.
There is no end to it. All your life you will be starting over and over, and discovering more and more wisdom.
Is it worth it? Absolutely.
Mindfulness practice is a great way to dive into and savor the world of our greatest human possibilities, and explore its far reaches.
The essence of mindfulness is simple as well, just Be Here Now.
I am inviting everyone to start the New Year with a reflection on how to love better.
We don’t need to be in love to love. Although everyone loves to be in love. Even when you are in love, you can learn to love better.
The kind of love I have in mind here is Agape love, the broader more expansive love towards ourselves, others and the planet. How can we cultivate that love all of the time?
Everybody has love inside of them. You don’t need to search for it, you need to trust that you have an abundant amount of love to give and receive. We are wired to love and we are wired to respond to love with kindness.
Nobody can survive without love. If you take a look at your exchanges, love is everywhere around you. All day long we are exchanging love, like we are exchanging money. One we see, the other we feel and sense. A hello is love, a smile is love, nice words are love.
Always cultivate an open heart. I was in meditation today and was observing my heart. I know from personal experience that what happens when we have a conflict, experience a rejection or disappointment, is that we tend to close our hearts.
We close them because we are sad but also because it hurts to feel the pain and disappointment of rejection. This is exactly why we need to reverse our course, and stay open. By keeping our hearts open, we are nourishing them and allowing them to receive love from other sources, be it our pets, friends, parents, neighbors, and all of nature. Let the exchange of love keep flowing.
All our hearts are like giant flowers with petals. What happens to a flower when it is closed? We don’t see its essence, its colors, we can’t smell its fragrance. That is why we need to keep our hearts open and beautiful despite adversity. Our hearts are made to be appreciated. Everyone is worthy of love, everyone is worthy of receiving love. We are loving and lovable.
Cultivate the love you have. Let it grow. Love the small acts of love, they will grow your love.
As you expand your awareness, your love will expand. You will naturally make space for love to flourish inside of you. As you start to embrace your essence which the present moment reveals to you, love will replace what is not love inside of you….
So chirp your hearts out this New Year, and pay attention to the love that flows all around you.
We go on dates with ideas in our heads, and so much hope that things will turn well, thinking that maybe… our search and struggles will soon be over. But the reality is often something else, and we get stuck in a full range of emotions.
How do you get up when you are feeling down, when you go through experiences that are not matching your expectations, when you are tired of feeling disappointed after dates.
There is nothing wrong with having expectations or standards, we need them to guide us through life. But there are a few things we should do to get unstuck quickly after a bad date and keep going.
Learn to have neutrality about dating situations and always treat yourself with respect and compassion. The worst thing you can do is to start analyzing and feeling guilty. I should have done this, I should have said that. No matter what you said or did, it wasn’t an experience you were supposed to have.
It might have been a decision on both sides, even if it was unconscious. When someone doesn’t call you back, examine the truth, it might be you who is putting the brakes on, even if you were not consciously aware of it at the time.
It is what it is. I like this saying because It is a very present moment saying. Ok, so you met, and you can’t imagine being with each other. Simply put, you didn’t connect. Now, you are free to close this small chapter and move on.
In the meantime, feel grateful for the new lessons you are receiving. Make sure your heart stays open and ready to receive love. You are getting closer to the one who will make your heart soar. Trust life and trust your heart!
Do not give up because you have been through a bunch of dates and they haven’t been satisfactory. If you keep getting disappointed and feeling that you will never find a partner, it is time to stop the thinking all together.
Go out dancing or to a cafe with friends. Keep dreaming… a life without dreams is a life not worth living.
Take the advice you find, online or off, with a grain of salt. It is wonderful to become a better person in all venues of life. But no one has the answer for you. You have the answers for yourself. When you follow your spirit and your heart, you can become a powerful being.
When you start living from the heart and your truth, you won’t follow anyone else’s rules. You follow yours. Start experiencing today with no rules, only with the wisdom of your heart. And make sure that you are receptive to the unexpected and beautiful, everywhere, and with everyone.
I would like you to think seriously about the things you say to yourself and others.
In a holistic world everything matters, and particularly the way we use our energy with our thoughts.
If the universe can spring out of nothingness, maybe our whole being can spring out of the thoughts we form in our minds. As we change our thought processes, we are constantly reshaping and retraining our minds.
Thoughts are energy travelling beyond space and time. And they are charged with emotions.
Your thoughts carry power. They can bring healing and abundance, or they can make you depressed.
They can put a smile on your face or they can send you into a downward spiral. They can uplift someone or they can crush someone.
So I am asking everyone tonight to pay attention to their thoughts and the way they use their energy.
Try not to say or think anything bad about yourself.
We do it all the time, and we are not kind to ourselves. When you are doing it, be aware that your body listens, and it affects your overall energy. Every time you put yourself down, your energy level goes down. Start elevating yourself with good and upbeat thoughts. The true and loving you doesn’t criticize your body or your mistakes. Start downloading some nourishing thoughts for your body. You will love it and your life will change for the better.
Every day reinforce the positives in your life.
Validate yourself. Stop for 10 seconds what you are doing and write or say 10 positive things about your life and yourself. See the beauty of your experiences and your encounters, or reflect on the lessons you are receiving. That is beautiful in itself.
That way you will slowly stop criticizing and start embracing curiosity.
Hmm, things and people are interesting… They behave differently. So when we shift to a place of curiosity, our critical voice diminishes. We observe and notice, but we don’t send bad energy with our thoughts.
There is a reason we see in color.
If you observe any color for example, it creates a certain mood in you. So next time you are about to be really hard on yourself or someone else, chose to stay in silence and give yourself a healing bath of meditative color to shift your thoughts instantaneously.
How many times have you heard people, including me, telling you to be more present? Well, we are never 100% present. Becoming fully present is a wisdom integrating process of a lifetime.
That is why embracing the feeling or the energy of gratitude helps you to experience your life more fully.It lessens your fears so you can become more present each day.
The philosopher Epictetus said: “Practice having a grateful attitude and you will be happy. If you take a broad view of what befalls each person and appreciate the usefulness of things that happen, it is natural to give thanks to the Ultimate for everything that happens in the world” (Art of Living, 1995, p. 109).
Our task is to practice gratitude towards ourselves and others without consequences. It shows our appreciation and generosity for life. And It puts us in a state of receptivity.
Let’s not feel guilty if we are not perfect. We were not taught to be grateful all the time.
But we can reverse this trend and choose to be grateful every day. It’s an intention we can make deep inside our minds. It’s a feeling we can cultivate inside our guts. It’s a smile we express on our faces.
This is the best week of the year to start practicing gratitude.
In the next few days, why don’t you text or call all the people who make or have a made a difference in
your life this year. Even a hint of hesitancy tells you that you are over calculating your move.
Be generous with your compliments and wishes.
Be grateful for the choices you have received.
Chose a symbol that symbolizes gratitude for you and display it to remember to practice gratitude.
Write about gratitude; what it means for you and how you experience it.
Make art to express your gratitude.
Keep sending the right messages to your body. Reinforcing gratitude is good for your well-being.
It washes away negativity.
Remember that feeling grateful is a vibe and that it will attract to you more people who are grateful
in their own lives.
Most people would probably agree that our world needs empathy.
The dictionary defines empathy as the action and the capacity of understanding, being aware of, and being sensitive to the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of another person.
As humans we are wired to be empathetic because we can feel our own pain, thus the pain of other human beings or animals. We can deeply understand their distress. But if we are wired for empathy, why so many people lack empathy?
One might argue that our culture – with its emphasis on mental and technological progress – has cut us off from our emotions and our bodies. We spend most of our time thinking, analyzing and not really listening to the silent messages of the heart and body. Because we spend so much time on our computers and at our desks, we can easily become isolated in our heads, and that means less time in person or within real life communities.
Psychologists talk of three types of empathy. Cognitive empathy is when you can put yourself in somebody else’s shoes. We cognitively understand what they are going through. Though this is important, it is not enough.
Emotional empathy is when you feel and sympathize with the feelings and emotions of others. We need this capacity to maintain relationships and friendships. But emotional empathy can be treacherous for sensitive people. Taking in, into your body, somebody’s else emotions and pain – can cause you to become ill.
I heard a radio host yesterday apologizing for not talking about the tragedy in Texas. She explained it like this… “I feel too much pain. I am in an overload of pain after months of tragedies. I can’t go there.”
Feeling the pain of others is an essential component of good health. But it is important to be able to separate one’s emotions from other people’s emotions. And this can be difficult for a lot of people.
To have healthy empathy, we must transition into Compassion. With compassion we understand and we feel for someone else, but we also understand that we need to stay whole in order to be a healthy and helpful resource for others. Compassion is felt more in the heart. It is an invisible silent thread that is felt between people. We are extending our heart to someone else’s heart.
Compassionate people are in control of their emotions. They can be very helpful in bringing about wise solutions. They are helpful with their sheer and trustworthy presence.
So to increase empathy and compassion, I would suggest to start with yourself.
Ask yourself how much empathy you have for yourself? Are you hard and unforgiving of yourself? Do you feel a lot of guilt all the time? Self-reflect and meditate on yourself often.
Also, remember episodes where you lacked empathy for others? Were you afraid or unware? Always ask why and wait for the answers to emerge from deep silence. There is no need to go into the past. But by remembering your aha moments of your past, you can illuminate your future.
Changing ourselves is a process. The most important thing is to be committed to transformation and to realize that your most important task on this planet is to become more human and to be of service.
I heard the famous author Caroline Myss say many times in her lectures that people are hungry for the sacred.
Once, people in masses went to churches to reflect and to connect with a force stronger than themselves, one that brought them relief and peace and hope. Now we have yoga studios, where we go to connect to a force inside of ourselves.
“Religion is part of the human make-up. It is our first attempt at cosmology, making sense of where we are in the universe, our first attempt at health care, believing in faith healing,” writes Christopher Hitchens.
Whatever the Gods represent for you, quantum intelligence or a divine intelligence, we often need the humility the sacred brings into our lives to make sense of our illogical human existence. I heard one of the victims of the California fires say “only gratitude matters going forward.”
Collectively we need more inspiration, more beautification and purification of our characters, our personalities, our souls, and our energies.
We are a sacred temple, and everyone on earth is a sacred temple. Together we make one sacred tribe. We walk on sacred earth, and we desperately need to accept ourselves as sacred beings. No shift in collective consciousness will ever happen if we don’t welcome back this basic truth.
We need to respect the sacred each one of us has decided to pursue; it is the right one for you at this point of your human evolution.
The true sacred inside of us doesn’t wage wars, doesn’t wish bad things to people, doesn’t look down at other sacred beings.
When you are feeling stressed, bring to mind the image of a sacred space, feel the peacefulness and the tranquility of sacredness inside of you. Respect, devotion and faith are a part of who you are.
In my yoga class this morning, blessings were sent to my body, my friends, the people all over the world who are suffering and lacking peace. Send blessings to your own body, and your own friends, and all other places you wish to send some sacredness and healing.